5 Myths About Search Data

5 Myths About Search Data

October 16th, 2012

Last October, both sides of the search marketing industry, in SEO & PPC felt under attack when Google announced that it would start hiding search data for logged-in Google searchers. Although Google estimated that less than ten percent of searches would be hidden, that number soon climbed close to 20%. The question that remains on the minds of many marketers: How would Search Retargeting remain effective without that data?

The notion that Google owns all the data is just one of a number of myths about search data. Google is just one piece in the puzzle we build to help our clients target consumers with the ads they actually want to see. Below, we explore this myth and four others that often lead to confusion about search marketing.

Myth #1: Google owns all the data

In truth, Google only accounts for a portion of all the search data available worldwide. One of the best techniques is harvesting the string query data that publishers get from their referral URLs. Publishers use that data to see which keywords brought searchers to their site, and it’s been helping them optimize their content for years.

Myth #2: Search data is only available through search engines

By definition, search data is not just data from search engines; rather, it’s data gleaned from the intent of a customer to search for something, within and outside of search engines. Eighty percent of users’ time is spent outside search engines, and, during that time, they’re often still performing searches!

Myth #3: Search data is not homogenous

Just because we refer to two distinct data sets as "search data" doesn't mean they're equally valuable or relevant to marketing goals. Myriad variables inform our classification and use of search data: the source of the data, the language the user used to express his search intent, the browsing history and social connections of the user to the brand, and so on.

Myth #4: Search Data is limited in scale

Search data is everywhere, and smart tech companies know where to find it. Plus, we’re looking at new and innovative uses of search data all the time. One of our recent favorites is Search-a-like targeting, which lets advertisers target searchers based on searches that have already proven to lead to conversions.

Myth #5: Search data can only be used for SEM and Search Retargeting

Search data informs far more than just Search Retargeting. It also informs Programmatic Site Retargeting — a Site Retargeting practice that relies on many data points to determines how much we should bid to serve an impression to a past visitor.
So, what does all of this mean? For starters, it means that you shouldn't believe all the hype you hear about Google or any other search company. Search data comes in all shapes and sizes and from lots of different sources. Properly harnessed, the different data sets can lead to phenomenal marketing. And that's no myth.

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